Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Do I Have a Problem?" (from the book)

It is difficult for me to pinpoint where my compulsive eating started. At age two my dad purchased a case of bananas from a produce bargain store. Apparently he decided to take an afternoon nap since the children passed out in front of the television. Being the little fatty, I woke up early to discover the abundance of sweet fruit calling my name from the kitchen. My dad later found the near-empty box on the floor, along with me rolling around over the empty peels, grunting and holding my bloated belly.

My obsession with food and compulsive eating (we might as well use the word “disorder”) got a little out of hand, where at age 21 I was 285 lbs. I can recall eating a whole large pizza, then going to the kitchen for a wedge of cake and pint of ice cream about an hour later. Nothing angered me more than being full with delicious things in the house to eat. I started a diet every other week and went off the diet later that same day. It was not until the New Year’s Eve after my 21st birthday that I finally had enough of being a fat loser. The self-realization of a compulsive eating disorder made sense after the hours of drinking alone and listening to suicidal music: It all seemed so clear. I had to do everything in extremes! Nothing about my life was in moderation and the only way to get a result that I wanted was to obsess and make it dominate every other aspect of my life. For about a year I starved myself to 800 calories a day and reduced my fat intake to 10 grams or less. For legal reasons I should state that: while I did count my protein and take a multi-vitamin, this was obviously not recommended by any physician. Birthdays, cook outs, holidays, dates, and any other occasions where a bunch of people get together and eat involved myself just drinking water and saying “No Thanks”. I lost 50 lbs the first three months and another 50 in the 9 months to follow. For the first time in my life I was actually thin! I went from a size 40 to a 34 and was able to see bones though my skin; I felt so elegant!

While the weight loss did not last, and I only remember feeling thin one day in my life. I do, however, remember that sense of accomplishment for having achieved something I set myself out to do. So while my weight went up and down in the years to follow, part of which I blame on the year I lived in Las Vegas (city of extremes), I began to search for a healthy lifestyle option. I remember thinking, “If I could only find something rational that would allow me to eat excessive amounts of food and not die of heart disease”. One day I found it, however, I still thought I needed one last meal. I drove to a burger joint with a cow on the sign and ordered a big juicy hamburger and fries. I took one bite, a bite I was barely able to chew and swallow, so I threw the rest of the greasy confection into the trash. I sat alone in my room, tears running down my face, as my brain raced though thoughts of what I had learned earlier that day. I empathized and mourned for the animal that died in a slaughter house. I cried for the injustices caused by factory farms in our fast food nation. I thought about the negative impacts caused by my years of apathy, laziness and selfishness. I woke the next day a Vegan.

No Book

The idea for Fatty Vegan was a collaborative idea in the early stages. My friends Frank and Chelsea who became vegan sometime after meeting me shared my love for eating good, while maintaining a vegan lifestyle. Chelsea is no longer vegan (downgraded to vegetarian status) and a collaborative effort in co-publishing with Frank is not going to work out. It was a fun idea, but I do not think it’s worth focusing my time on. Not to mention the complications of publishing ideas other people had a part in. Needless to say I can have my blog about my vegan endeavors without any worry or stress. The market for vegan compulsive eaters can’t be too big anyway. It’s hard enough to find someone to eat dinner with that isn’t going to say things like: “I would never eat that”, “how do you live without meat”, “I could never be vegan”, “that looks gross”. Even though the vegan diet is a healthier option, eating animal products puts you at a much higher risk for heart disease, and most people lack the self-control and compassion to even consider a vegan lifestyle; getting the message out to compulsive eaters ranks lower on my list than some other priorities. I will follow the winds of change and focus more energy on publishing something significant and important, rather than something I could do for fun on the side.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Garden Picnic

I made plans with three friends of mine to meet up at my house for a picnic in the garden. The four of us work together on a lot of volunteer activities at university and enjoy spending time together. I had only a day to plan, but it was a casual get-together where the three guests would be arriving at different times. This means that a traditional sit-down dinner with table linens and formal courses served in a specific order would not work. I decided to go with a ‘Mexiamerican’ theme since I had a few ripe avocadoes.


2 Large Ripe Avocadoes
½ Fresh Tomato (diced)
1 TBS Tofutti Sour Cream (Vegan)
Fresh Chopped Cilantro
Green Onion (chopped)
¼ Fresh Lime (juiced)
Ground Cumin

Vegan Bean Dip:
Layered into a ramekin in this order:
1 Can of Vegetarian Refried Beans
¼ Cup Tofutti Sour Cream (Vegan) – Mixed with Taco Seasoning
¼ Cup Fresh Hot Salsa
½ Fresh Tomato (diced)
Fresh Chopped Cilantro
Green Onion (chopped)
Soy Cheese (Daiya) – By the way this is the ONLY cheese substitute I will use
Tofutti Sour Cream (Vegan)

I set out a variety of 3 salsas (with a sprig of cilantro indicating the hot salsa) and a large glass bowl with yellow and blue corn tortilla chips for dipping. I discussed the quality of the food with one of my friends objectively and we agreed that the guacamole could use a little more something so I decided I will add more salt next time and also some green chili peppers. The bean dip is pretty good as it is. I am so glad I was able to find a soy cheese that actually tastes awesome! I really hope they keep making this product; it is good cold, in salads, melted onto things and made into a nacho cheese sauce.

I had a great time yesterday snacking and talking about our summer plans, my trip to India and our future plans in the months to come! It’s so nice to be back home, enjoying this wonderful time of year, entertaining and having fun with friends while enjoying the best weather Michigan has to offer. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Vegan to Non-Vegan (PG-13)

I just want to say that Morningstar Farms can kiss my ass!

Grocery stores really need to stop stocking their products in the produce sections and in the organic sections next to vegan products. The ‘beef crumbles’ used to be a staple in my vegan cooking for substituting beef in taco meat, stuffed peppers and lasagna. Now I have to change the recipes to no longer include a meat substitute product. This is good for making them less fat and calories, but that kind of goes against the point of ‘Fatty Vegan’. I hope that the Morningstar Company will find that the niche for good vegan products for transitioning and fat vegans is marketable. Most of their products now contain eggs and dairy. They are not even Hindu-Vegetarian.

Morningstar is not the only company on my shit list; Bocca deserves an ass-kicking as well. Either shit of get of the pot! One week the chickin’ products are vegan, the next they contain eggs, the next they contain dairy. I am sick of reading your bastard labels. I will no longer be using their products until they make a decision to create a sustaining vegan product that I can have a chance of incorporating into a publishable recipe. How is anyone supposed to adopt a vegan lifestyle if the products for consumption are changing every time they go to the market?

Skinny Vegan?

This is my first blog. I have been working on my book for a little over a year now. It is taking a LONG time to make progress, but it's getting there. Stay tuned for updates and some samples of what's to come!

I just got back from India a few days ago. I titled this post 'Skinny Vegan' because I lost 25 LBS in India. I normally compulsively eat on a daily and regular basis; however the combination between sickness, guilt and change of my comfortable environment changed my eating habits. I have battled my compulsive eating disorder my whole life, so it's pretty unrealistic to believe that a lifetime of bad habits has been changed by my experiences in India. Believe it or not, I actually experienced my longest period without food: 36 hours of fasting. I wanted to know what it was like for all the people that were starving there, unable to feel nourished, and going to bed on an empty stomach. While it was difficult and definitely gave me something to think and journal about, I knew deep down that I could never really understand. The whole time I had the financial means to get something to eat, and the comfort of knowing I would be able to eat the next day prevented me from knowing what it was really like. At least I can say that I see things differently now. I always thought my eating disorder was my own unhealthy, self-indulgent, obsessive compulsive, individualistic concern; now I just think it is selfish. How do you overeat when someone is looking at you from the other side of the glass, holding their skinny, starving children? I will not feed my addictions or better my situation at the costs of others. I will not be that person. I decided to make a ‘Findy” (fat Indian) section to my book and dedicate a portion of the proceeds to one of the NGO’s I worked with in India.

My second day back from India, I went with my friend and co-author, Frank, to Whole Foods in Ann Arbor, MI. I spent $140 on delicious organic and vegan food (some of which was healthy). I felt the need to detox my body so I bought a lot of Vruit, carrot juice and mung beans. I will start that detox/fast soon; in the meantime I have been cooking some fresh vegetables and introducing a few of my western, fatty vegan recipes.